(Thursday, January 29th)
Today was spent in the city of Copenhagen! We took a bus with our buddies and explored the city via scavenger hunt. We were given hints to 18 different monuments in the city and were instructed to take group pictures in front of as many as possible.
We started off at Nørreport Station, which used to be the northern gate to the city, back when it was surrounded by a wall (that is also what the name translates to: North Gate).
We walked by several beautiful old buildings. I especially liked these little cafés along the road, I have no idea what these used to be, but they make lovely cafés now.
We also passed by several lovely churches, houses, clock towers, and other buildings along the way. I’ve probably mentioned this in every post where I explore a new city, but these buildings are always so different in each city! The architecture is always different, the culture surrounding them is unique, their history is rich. I can’t describe what exactly makes them different, its easier just to show pictures.
Copenhagen is the third European harbour city I’ve been in (after Venice and Amsterdam), and this can easily be seen by the canals within the city. These canals are mainly different because the Danes love clean water, and the water in there is crystal clear.
We continued on passed Thorvaldsens Museum, a museum dedicated to Denmark’s most famous architect. We forgot to get a picture for this one, but we were able to pull something together.
Next, we went to Christiansborg, a building that was supposed to be for the royal family, but instead houses parliament. By the way, we get points for creativity in the scavenger hunt, so there may be some weird poses.
After that, we took a picture in front of the statue of Copenhagen’s founder, Bishop Absalon.
Then we headed to the stork fountain, a popular frolicking spot for the grade 12 graduates of the Copenhagen area. Video here: http://instagram.com/p/ycEISGKHrg/
After that, we went to the Danish National Museum and learned all about Denmark’s ancient history. We started with the hunters and gatherers, then moved to the farmers and hunters and fishers, then the stone age, then the bronze age, then the iron age, and finally the viking age! One of the coolest things in the museum was the body of a woman from the iron age! She had been found in a bog, so she was (comparatively) well preserved! She still had some skin on her face after all these centuries! We also saw some famous danish artifacts, such as the golden horns, which are known by every Dane. (Most can even recite the first couple of lines of a poem about these horns!) Even after spending over an hour in the museum, we only saw a tiny portion of it! I’ll definitely be back there, especially since there is free admission!
Getting back into the scavenger hunt, we went to the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek another local museum. Then we walked by Tivoli Gardens, an amusement park right in the middle of Copenhagen, and the second oldest amusement park in the world! (The oldest one is actually in Lynbgy!) Sadly, it is closed until April.
Next stop on the hunt was the City Hall Square. Apparently, some Danes are honoured in this building, and it fills up the square and the streets with proud Danes. For example, when the Danish Women’s Handball team won an Olympic gold medal, they were honoured here and went out on the balcony to greet their fellow Danes!
We decided to go to Ny Havn next, which is a beautiful harbour in Copenhagen and the scene on most postcards here. On the way, we saw the Black Diamond, a section of the Royal Library.
Also on the way, we found the Stock Exchange, and posed like our wallets were empty (which, as students, wasn’t too difficult).
Coincidentally, we passed the Danish National Bank. Though on the scavenger hunt list, it wasn’t as exciting as expected 😛
Next we stopped for a small show at the National Theatre.
After that, we tried to find the Kongens Nygorv (the King’s New Square), but it was under construction.
Finally we arrived at the colourful and picturesque Ny Havn! The name means New Harbour (it’s pronounced Nu Hown). The scavenger hunt clue was that this site would be where 90% of the exchange student’s facebook cover photo’s would be taken, hence we took selfies!
We continued the tour by stopping in a local coffee shop to warm up from the freezing Danish winds! We then went along the harbor to hunt for more landmarks. Our next stop was the Opera House!
Right across the street was Amalienborg, home of the Danish Royal Family! They even have their own royal guards, and our Buddy warned us that they will yell at you if you get too close!
And on the other side of Amalienborg was the Marble Church. So named, because it’s made out of marble.
After that we found dinner, wandered around the cobblestone streets of Copenhagen, then finished our hunt at Rosenburg Castle. Sadly, it was too dark to get a decent picture. Oh well, we’ll just have to go back!